Thursday, October 1, 2015

Artist on Artist with Willem Johan Hoendervanger

Celebrating the 3rd Anniversary  
Artist on Artist Interviews

Today gives me immense pleasure in celebrating the 3rd Anniversary of the Artist on Artist project! Since its birth, 19 artists, both genders of varying mediums and styles have participated in this project. The premise of this project is to help promote, recognise, and encourage living artists and their work; of whom I personally and professionally admire. It is extremely important to me that each gender, race, style, and medium be fairly represented in this project and, it is equally important that each artist have the opportunity to properly represent their voice and spirit, and their work as they see fit.  

For this month's Artist on Artist Interview, I am greatly honoured to present to you all, Netherland Maritime Artist, Willem Johan Hoendervanger. I first discovered Hoendervanger's work about 10 months ago, quite accidentally on Instagram through the hashtag #maritimeart. I was immediately drawn to the realism and accuracy of his ship portraits and, to the clarity and freshness of his watercolours. 

And now without any further adieu here is Willem Johan Hoendervanger's interview along with selected works.

Artist on Artist Interview with Willem Johan Hoendervanger

Willem Johan Hoendervanger 

Polly - Hi Willem! And welcome to the AoA project, it's a great pleasure to celebrate its 3rd Anniversary with you and your art! Ok, let's get started ... how are you doing today and can you tell us a little bit about yourself, where you're from and, perhaps what is your earliest memory of when you knew you were an artist?

Willem - Hello Polly, thanks for having me in your interview series! I'm doing fine today, I'm busy working on several projects at the moment which I will tell you later on more about. First of all I was born in 1980 and live and work in Vlissingen, the Netherlands which is situated at the estuary of the river Scheldt and the North Sea. It's a very busy area talking about ships because it's the shipping lane to the Port of Antwerp, Gent, and Vlissingen. Every day around 150 ships passing by my hometown Vlissingen! The combination of ships and the beautiful surrounding of the Northsea and the Westerschelde and of course the ever changing skies /moods gives me almost too much inspiration. To answer your question. I've been drawing and painting since I could hold a pencil, so started at a very young age. The idea that I might become a full time professional maritime artist came much later, I think at the age of 15.

Prinses Margriet | Oil on Linen | 19.69 x 27.56 Inches 

Polly Tell us about your art education; are you self-taught, or did you attend an art school?

Willem - I have finished the Art Academy in the Netherlands. Of course there is no such education for becoming a maritime artist, so I taught myself how to do it simply by drawing and painting every day. The other part is studying and watching your subject, that's half of the work! I think I have succeeded in creating my own style which can not being compared with any other marine artist, I'm quite happy with it. It's always a thrill when the client feels the intent and efforts you've put in of your piece of art, in the end that's the best part of the whole process.

Fairmount Summit | Watercolor on Canson paper | 9.45 x 19.69 Inches. 

Polly - Speaking of style - in your own words; how would you describe your style? 

Willem - I would describe my style as realistic. I try to capture the essence and character of each ship I'm painting. In the field of marine art shipping companies and other customers want their ship to be exactly like their ship, no errors are permitted. The other part of the style are the sky and the sea which have to get as much attention as the ship itself. These three aspects must be in a good balance to create a good piece of marine art. Style also includes the use of 'clear' colors and how you handle your brushes / medium. Finding the balance between painting in a realistic way and adding artistic values is the essence of my work and style. 

Smit Singapore | Watercolor on Arches paper | 17.72 x 25.59 Inches. 

Polly - ​Tell us about your studio space; where is it located, what kind of space is it like, how do you keep it!?! 

Willem - It's located in my home in Vlissingen, so that's very handy, actually it's not a very large room, but good enough for creating my art. When looking though the window I have a beautiful view at the historic centre of Vlissingen and the ships as well. I like to keep my studio clean and tidy. I'm a great proponent of working organized and structured. So I have to disappoint you Polly, no romantic and artistic mess in my studio, no splashes of paint on my clothes and things like that....! When I have to create an oil painting I can remove my desk and put my (large) old easel in place, so the space is quit multi-functional. It's a very simple white room with noting on the walls, it's all about creating art without any or less distractions.  

Iver Example | Watercolor on Arches paper | 17.3 x 26.4 Inches. 

Polly - HA! No disappointment here, Willem, it's your studio. You said earlier you have some projects you're working on at the moment; can you tell us about​ these ​projects?  

Willem - Currently I'm working on a new series of 5 paintings for Vroon, which is a large Dutch shipping company. In the past I have created 13 paintings for Vroon. Besides that commission I'm working on a couple of paintings for an upcoming expo later this year. I'm also busy working on a book which will be published in 2016, the work mainly consist of writing the texts for each painting, and of course creating some paintings of ships which I think must be included in the book.

HAM 310 | Watercolor on Canson paper 15.75 x 19.69 Inches. 

Polly - That's tremendous news, congratulations! What is your ultimate goal, or dream project you want to do with your art?

Willem - I'm happy as long as I can keep on creating maritime art for myself and my customers.

Statendam | Watercolor on Fabriano paper | 18.11 x 29.13 Inches.

Polly - Speaking of your customers; what are some memorable responses have you had to your work? 

Willem - The best part of the whole process of making art is to have a customer who is satisfied to the full. For some customers my paintings brings back memories from their time at sea. Shipping companies use my work to show in their offices or to give away to their clientele. From time to time my work is used as a present at naming ceremonies of new ships. I'm happy and honored when my work is 'coming home' to a customer.

Zr.Ms. Zeeland | Watercolor on Canson paper | 14.75 x 19.69 Inches.

Polly - How do you balance your studio/creative time? 

Willem - Actually my studio time is my creative time. So it mean I try to work as much as possible during the workweek, sometimes I work in the weekends as well when there is a deadline, or when I feel must work or take advantage of an inspirational flow. Most of the time I try to work 'office' hours, it keeps me sharp and structured, for me it works well. Besides working on a painting in my studio I make time for acquisition, administration and social media. Last but not least I spend some time reading and studying for (upcoming) paintings, this also includes watching ships in real life.  

Noordam | Watercolor on Canson paper | 9.06 x 19.69 Inches.

Polly - Tell us who are some of your favourite artists?

Willem - There are so many good artist, the list will be too long to handle here. Let me focus on some maritime artist I like which I'm thinking of at the moment in no particular order: Jochen Sachse - Carl G.Evers - Herman Bosboom - Ian Marshall - Kenneth Shoesmith - J.C.A.Goedhart - Peter J. Sterkenburg - William Muller - John Allcott - Charles Pears - Walter Zeeden -Norman Wilkinson and the list goes on and on .... Why? They all know how to paint ships! 

HAM 310 | Watercolor on Canson paper | 15.75 x 19.69 Inches. 

Polly -What has been the most challenging aspect for you as artist?

Willem - Creating paintings that satisfy my (high) standards. 

Pool Express | Watercolor on Arches paper | 17.3 x 26.4 Inches. 

Polly - Who has been your greatest support?

Willem - Sounds maybe a little bit selfish but I would say myself, besides that friends, family and colleagues are of great support as well. Visiting expos can also be very inspiring and influence the way you work. 

Agnes | Pencil on Fabriano paper | 18.11 x 29.13 Inches. 

Polly - That's understandable all artists ultimately do rely on their own drive and skill when it comes to creating work. Speaking of skills, if you could try your hand at another medium or genre what would it be and why? 

Willem - I would like to spend some more time creating paintings of trains and airplanes, I was commissioned a couple of years ago to do two paintings of railway wagons, unfortunately I haven't got the time yet to further develop that, but I liked it very much. Talking about mediums, I wish to spend some more time in making large oils, and bring my oil skills to a next level. 

Herik rijtuig | Watercolor on Arches paper | 16.54 x 24.02 Inches

Polly - If you could apprentice with any artist dead or alive, who would it be and why? 

Willem - I'm not that fond of being someone's apprentice because I think each artist has to create and invent it's own style all by him/herself. Of course you can always learn some technical and practical things from other artist which can be very helpful.  

Bremen | Watercolor on Canson paper | 15.75 x 23.62 Inches. 

Polly - If you could spend the day with one person, famous or not, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Willem - J.J.Cale -- I really enjoy listening to his music and it would be amazing to hang around with him. 

Amstelland | Oil on Linen | 19.69 x 27.56 Inches.

Polly - How often do you go to museums and galleries to see art? 

Willem - A couple of times per quarter. Last summer for example I have visited the Rijksmuseum (great Dutch 17th marine art) in Amsterdam and Panorama Mesdag in The Haque.

VOS Endurance | Watercolor on Arches paper | 17.3 x 26.4 Inches. 

Polly - Would you mind sharing something interesting about yourself most people wouldn’t know? 

Willem - At the moment I have a free postcard action running, so make sure to get a free one yourself! Details can be found here. While stocks last ... !

Lynx & Apollo | Watercolor on Canson paper | 11.81 x 23.62 Inches.

Polly - What words of wisdom do you have to offer to young and, aspiring artists? 

Willem - Now I feel really old...haha! No seriously, the best advice I can give is to keep on rolling. Keep on producing work and try to find a good work rhythm, I think that's the most important thing to succeed as an artist. Then the rest will start to flow. 

Prins Willem V | Watercolor on Fabriano paper | 20.08 x 27.56 Inches. 

Polly - And lastly, is there anything else you would like to share with us about you and or your art before we conclude? 

Willem - Yes I would like to tell the readers about the selections of my work that can be seen on my website:   

Saga Rose | Watercolor on Fabriano paper | 18.11 x 26.77 Inches. 

PollyThank you so much Willem for this wonderful and insightful interview into your artful life! I wish you the very best with your artistic endeavours and good luck with your upcoming book! Cheers! 

To learn about Willem Johan Hoendervanger please visit his website.